Pubdate: Fri, 03 Aug 2012
Source: New Age, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2012 TNA Media (Pty.)
Author: De Wet Potgieter


The Western Cape department of social development has embarked on a
visionary project to provide a social crime prevention and upliftment
programme for the young people who live in the drug, and crime-ridden
towns and suburbs of the province.

The New Age last Thursday evening witnessed the enthusiasm and
dedication of 180 young girls, who had just completed the three-month
upliftment programme at their graduation ceremony at the Chrysalis
Academy in Tokai, Cape Town.

"These are all girls from gang-infested areas who had somehow fallen
through the cracks," social development MEC Albert Fritz told TNA.

The smiles on the faces of the girls, aged between 12 and 19, and the
way they cheered their instructors during the evening's events clearly
mirrored the pride and self esteem gained during the three months of
strict and disciplined training.

The academy has four intakes a year. It also caters for boys groups as
well as for the senior groups who are young people between the ages of
17 to 25. Fritz says the Chrysalis Academy is an initiative started by
the Western Cape provincial government to provide a social crime
prevention and upliftment programme for youth at risk.

The academy focuses on the individual's physical, psychological and
spiritual development, resulting in realistic and sustainable results.
Chrysalis isn't a rehabilitation programme, rather a preventative 

"The programme is geared not only to address the softer life skills
like confidence, assertiveness, discipline, teamwork, etcetera, but
also includes vocational skills, like office administration, call
centre training, home-based care and firefighting. They will also
receive first-aid training, as well as assistance with obtaining a
learner's licence."

Fritz said it was encouraging to see the parental and family support
for many of the girls.

"We will build on this, with a set of workshops for parents to enable
them to better support and understand their children. While the
instructors will be developing the girls to their full potential, we
want to use these workshops to ensure the family also develops as a
whole unit."

The academy received more than 500 applications, but can only
accommodate 180 students per course.

"They are therefore privileged to have been selected and I encouraged
them to grab this opportunity with both hands, as there are many
others who were not as fortunate," said Fritz.

He recalled seeing some worried faces from participants at the start
of the course when they heard that their morning would start at 4.30
am with a physical exercise routine, "but the three hearty meals per
day seemed to bring on some smiles."
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